On Oct. 1, 1965, following an attempted military coup, the government of Indonesia launched a campaign of mass killing. Over the following months, between 500,000 and 1 million people were killed by local militias and Indonesian soldiers. Those targeted included leftists, ethnic Chinese, trade unionists, teachers, intellectuals, civil society activists, artists, and those involved in women’s organizations. The targeted individuals were subject to torture, rape, imprisonment, forced labor, forced eviction, and extrajudicial execution. The United States government provided the Indonesian Army with financial, military, and intelligence support during the period of the mass killings and allegedly did so while aware that such killings were taking place.
In Indonesia today, the perpetrators of these crimes have not been held accountable, and many remain in positions of power. In public discourse, the events are still considered taboo. The lack of transparency and accountability provides little space for truth, justice, reconciliation, or redress for the families of the victims.
Oct. 1, 2015, marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the mass atrocities. With a Senate resolution, the United States government can open the books on its own role during the period and play a key role in helping the Indonesian government open dialogue about the mass atrocities, moving the country toward justice and reconciliation. The resolution will condemn the 1965–66 atrocities, call on U.S. agencies to declassify documents related to the events, and urge political leaders in Indonesia to establish a commission to address the human rights violations and promote reconciliation across the country.
Tell the United States Senate that you will support this resolution.